It shouldn’t be so hard. I mean, I know her after all. We are friends. Our kids are friends … she feels like family. Yet, I struggle to muster up the courage to ask a simple question. I wonder if the question will damage our relationship. Will it seem as though I don’t trust her? Will I deeply offend her? Will it change things? What if the answer isn’t something I’m prepared to hear … then what will I do? Can we stay friends?
On a Sunday about a year ago several mothers involved in the ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Campaign at All Saints spoke to my parenting group. They started a dialogue about children’s safety in the home and gun safety. I always knew guns were dangerous around kids, especially because when my husband was nine he unintentionally shot his cousin in the eye with a pellet gun, leaving him permanently blind in one eye. Had that been a real gun, he could’ve killed him. However, beyond that story I didn’t know the statistics of gun violence with children. I didn’t know that 1 in 3 homes with children have guns, and that 3 in 4 of children ages 5-14 know where the guns are stored in the home. I didn’t know that 17,500 youth are injured or killed each year due to gun violence. When I learned the statistics I was floored. How many times have my kids been playing in homes with guns and I didn’t even know?
It was then that I vowed that anytime I have my children in someone’s home I have to ask, “is there an unlocked gun in the house?” And although the above list of questions runs through my head every time I’m going to ask, I know that those questions beat the alternative. Even if I lost a friendship over asking, I know it’s better than potentially losing my child’s life. And surprisingly every time I’ve asked someone, their response has always been “I never even thought about that. I’m so glad you asked.” So as we approach National ASK Day on Sunday, June 19, I urge you to take courageous action on behalf of our children, and join other congregations … and vow to ask.
Written By: Rebekah Garcia
The ASK Campaign was created in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Across the country, it has successfully inspired an estimated 19 million households to ask if there are guns where their children play. Join these parents and pledge to ASK this life-saving question at www.askingsaveskids.org/pledge. You can also learn about more ways to get involved in ASK, and how you can spread the ASK message in your community by visiting the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force table on the lawn or clicking here: http://allsaints-pas.org/take-action/gun-violence-prevention/